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Keane on target for Apprentice record

Colin Keane after recording a treble at Fairyhouse last monthColin Keane after recording a treble at Fairyhouse last month
© Photo Healy Racing

Already assured to win the Champion Apprentice Jockey title, twenty-year-old jockey, Colin Keane needs just five wins from six race-meetings to break the record number of wins by an apprentice in a season. The record is currently held by Joseph O’Brien whose 57 wins in 2011 beat Raymond Carroll’s 52 wins set in 1976.

With just over a week to go until the Flat Finale at Leopardstown Racecourse, the remaining Flat Champion titles are already set in stone with Aidan O’Brien to be crowned Champion Trainer, Pat Smullen Champion Jockey and Mrs John Magnier Champion Owner.

Colin, son of trainer Gerry Keane has risen through the ranks from pony racing, riding over 100 winners in five years. He applied for his apprentice licence in 2010 at the age of 16 and secured, as he put it, his ‘dream job’ with trainer Ger Lyons. His original plan was to move to England to further his career but such is the success of his partnership with Lyons that he was named stable jockey this year despite still only being an apprentice.

The pair has combined to have excellent individual seasons this year. To date, Lyons has 46 winners and Keane is only four from the record at 53. Notable winners for the pair this season include stakes winners Convergence, Annippe and Brendan Bracken.

Keane came close to snatching the apprentice title last year when he fell three winners short of the winning mark set by Connor King. This season he has been in irresistible form and currently holds a 23-win lead over his nearest pursuer. His current tally of 53 is enough to put him fourth in the overall jockey standing which is an outstanding achievement for an apprentice.

There are still six meetings remaining which give the Meath man an excellent opportunity to break the record, and with Ger Lyons’ stable still in red-hot form few would bet against him doing it. His next opportunity will come at Dundalk on Friday night where he has seven rides. The Louth racetrack has traditionally been a successful venue for the pair.

Colin Keane said: “I’d be over the moon to beat the record. It’s brilliant just to know that I’m going to be Champion Apprentice. It could go either way though. Even if I get four winners and equal the record I’d be delighted but hopefully I won’t come up just short of that.”

Ruaidhri Tierney, Keane’s agent said: “We’ve had an unbelievable season and we’re very grateful to Ger Lyons for such a chance – we wouldn’t be in this situation without Ger. We’d also like to thank all the other trainers who have helped Colin get so many winners since he started.”

Commenting on Colin’s chances of beating the record, he said: “He has a full book of rides, including some very good rides in Dundalk on Friday night so he definitely has a chance. There are a few meetings left before the end of the Flat championship so it’s [breaking the record] definitely on our target list. He’ll hopefully get close if not do it.”

The Flat Season Finale takes place on Tote November Handicap Day, on Sunday, October 26th with all eight races sponsored by Tote Ireland.